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Date: April 12, 2008
Region: 2008 East Region
Tournament: Sam Rayburn #3
Tournament Trail: 2008 Bass Champs Tournament Trail
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Vincent Neal & Kyle Rowe win Bass Champs East Region #3 on Sam Rayburn
By: Patty Lenderman

What an exciting day April 12 at the Umphrey Family Pavilion on Sam Rayburn. Bass Champs held its third East Region event, paying out close to $60,000 in cash and prizes, and over 400 anglers came to fish for their part of it. Kyle Rowe and Vincent Neal won the lion’s share with 1st place taking home over $20,000 cash!

Spring is in full swing, bringing with it typical weather patterns of wind and rain. While there was no precipitation the day of the tournament, recent rains in the area has pushed lake levels up, scattering the bass. The wind was a factor for the anglers. At take-off there was a mild steady breeze, but as the day warmed the wind increased with it. Sam Rayburn resembled the Gulf of Mexico at weigh in time with high rollers and white caps.

Weights looked promising as the first team came to the scales, having a weight of 21.42 pounds. As more anglers came in with their catch, it was apparent that it was a hit-or-miss kind of day. A total of six teams had weights over 20 pounds, with Vincent Neal and Kyle Rowe surging ahead of the pack to win by more than a pound and a half!

“We fished Carolina rigged Zoom brush hogs outside the grass edges in 10’-12’.” Vincent explained that they had to battle the wind all day even though they were in the back of a pocket. They had a real good start to their day, landing two seven pounders early. They wrapped up a limit by 10:15 and were ready to start culling. “We left one time for a couple of hours, but ended up coming back.” They had a few smaller fish they were trying to cull, and about 2:00 was able to make a good cull after catching a six pounder! Their best five fish weight was 25.84 pounds to win 1st place. They were presented with $20,000 for their win plus another $200 Sure-Life Bonus for using the product in their livewell.

Charles Bebber & Keith Caka won 2nd place with 23.24 pounds. “Today we switched up from what we’ve been doing” Keith explained. “We flipped the bushes with a jig and Senko in water about 3’-5’ deep.” Concentrating their efforts in the backs of creeks, they backed off to deeper water after that to use Texas rigs in 8’-10’ outside the grass. “It was a slow bite” Bebber added. “It took until noon to put a limit together, but the Lord blessed us and gave us a couple of big bass.” The biggest in their creel weighed 7.62 pounds. They had made a long run to get to their chosen spots. “The ride wasn’t bad in the morning, but coming back was pretty rough!” Charles Bebber and Keith Caka have had quite a month on the tournament scene. Two weeks ago Keith fished the Dawson Marine Big Bass tournament and won the grand prize of a brand new Skeeter Boat. Today they fished out of their new Skeeter bass rig and were the highest finishing qualified Skeeter boat team, doubling their 2nd place $5,000 winnings to total $10,000!

Art Garza and Larry Lewis took 3rd place with 23.08 pounds. “We caught three or four on a Carolina rig pretty early” they explained. “We were throwing Paca Craws on bare flats about 8’ deep.” After catching a few there, the left to try flipping the bushes in another area. They put a few more in the boat, then came back to their first spot around 1:30 going back to their Carolina rig. Their second try in this area paid off, catching one over 6 pounds pretty quick, then another weighing 8.58! Their 3rd place finish paid off with a $3,000 check.

Greg Watkins caught the Big Bass of the tournament, weighing in at 8.68 lbs. “She bit around 9:45” Greg recalled. Using a watermelon red Yum Dinger with a 1/16 oz Tungsten weight, he caught her in grass about 5’ deep. He won $1,000 for this catch, finishing in 46th place overall with his partner Glen Freeman.

Rounding out the top 10:
4th $2,000 21.96 lbs Landan Ware & Rick Scott
5th $1,200 21.42 lbs Brian Shook & Cody Goodman
6th $1,090 21.36 lbs Clint & Clay West
7th $1,080 19.96 lbs Jody Goodrum & Jake Goodrum
8th $1,070 19.16 lbs Martin & George Kelley
9th $1,060 18.86 lbs Willie Fabre & Shannon Price
10th $1,050 18.04 lbs Johnny Renfro & Mitch Mallott
…….and last in the money…….
27th $ 600 14.46 lbs Kevin Burks & Jason Gates

With only two events left to go, the Angler of the Year race is in full swing.
Top 5 teams by points:
705 pts Kris Wilson & David Harvey
693 pts Allen Shelton & Strider Browning
686 pts Pete Shivers & Allan Shivers
657 pts David Fox & George Jeane
640 pts Brian Shook & Cody Goodman

The next East Texas region tournament will be on Toledo Bend on May 3 at Cypress Bend Park. This region will wrap up its regular season on June 14 back on Sam Rayburn. Bass Champs is heading to Lake Lewisville next for North Region’s third tournament April 19.

For more information on any Bass Champs event, call 817-439-3274 or click to www.basschamps.com
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